THE MOVIE, which has been wowing audiences elsewhere overseas after hitting U. screens last month, follows on the success of the original "Matrix," released in 1999, a mind-warping tale of software-created cities run by ruthless machines.
According to box-office returns for overseas last weekend, the movie earned more than $42 million from 5.5 million admissions at 9,400 screens in 62 countries, raising its cumulative gross to $300.6 million.
This time around, the hero Neo (Reeves) leads his trusted band of warriors inside the matrix to prevent the destruction of the human stronghold of Zion, built deep inside the earth. .
But Egypt's censorship board felt the movie could subject viewers to "crises." In a statement, the board declared that "Matrix Reloaded" touches on subjects considered sacrosanct to the religiously conservative Islamic nation.
"It explicitly handles the issue of existence and creation which are related to the three divine religions, which we all respect and believe in," it said.
Other problems, according to the statement, include that the movie "tackles the issue of the creator and his creations, searching for the origin or creation and the issue of compulsion and free will." .
Not all American action movies are banned in Egypt, although the original "Matrix" also was considered too risky. Currently, Egyptian newspapers are offering blaring advertisements for "X2: X Men United" and "A Man Apart" with Vin Diesel, the latter promising "non-stop explosive action.".
However, as with all Western movies here, all sex scenes are cut, and even kissing is banned.
Movie critic Mahmoud Kassem screened the movie as an observer with a panel of philosophers, professors of literature, writers, critics and psychologists. .
And although he disagrees with the concept of censorship, he said he understood the reasoning behind their decision.